Waves and Beaches: The Powerful Dynamics of Sea and Coast–Updated Edition

For nearly 60 years, Willard Bascom’s bestselling book “Waves and Beaches: The Powerful Dynamics of Sea and Coast” (Patagonia, March 16, 2021) has been a go-to resource of surfers, sailors, oceanographers and anyone with an appreciation for the sea.

But since the book’s original 1963 publication, a new wave–the wave of climate change–has vastly impacted ocean dynamics, coastlines and coastal communities.

Refreshed for the 21st century, a new edition of “Waves and Beaches” has been released by Patagonia to help readers take action in protecting our shores.

By understanding the origins of coastal dynamics and the unavoidable effects of global warming, we can anticipate and work to solve for devastating coastal changes, writes Kim McCoy, a noted ocean researcher and co-author of the third edition of “Waves and Beaches.” In the new book, McCoy presents compelling current research on the impact of rising ocean temperatures and sea levels, including coverage of events such as the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Katrina flooding of 2005, and the 2011 earthquake and resulting devastation in Fukishima.

“The elusive winds and waves of climate change have recast coastal dynamics; now clearly visible in scientific data covering periods of decades, centuries and millennia,” said McCoy.

In the United States alone, rising sea levels threaten major cities such as Boston and New York. The science in this new edition gives urgency to why the Outer Banks, the Intracoastal Waterway, barrier islands, Gulf Coast and the Pacific coastline from Canada to Mexico–along with countless other highly populated areas of the globe–must confront the rising seas.

The original author, Willard Bascom, was a pioneer and master on the subject of sea dynamics. McCoy met Bascom in the early ‘90s, and the two had a long-standing friendship based on their mutual interest in the ocean. The authors share a combined 70 years’ experience, along with thousands of miles of shoreline in 50 countries, studying and trying to understand the complexity of ocean dynamics.

Speaking to the love and fascination for his life’s work, Bascom wrote in the book’s epilogue: “The inner peace that comes with the quiet contemplation of a beach on a still, calm morning or the feeling of exhilaration that comes from riding a great wave in a small boat is more reward than most ever know. Fortunately, the beaches of the world are swept each night by the tide. A fresh surface always awaits the student, and every wave is a masterpiece of originality. It will ever be so. Go and see.”

Learn more here.

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